Nearly 40% of expats in France moved here chasing greater quality of life
When you consider that France is the most popular tourist destination in Europe and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world the number of votes cast from those now living in France was disappointing. However, there are a number of reasons why people move to France which have become very prominent in the last poll conducted by Expat Forum on behalf of Barclays Wealth International to find out which are the expatriate community’s favourite destinations.
Leaving aside their charm and applauded gastronomy, and like so many of the very popular tourist destinations around the world, France really does have very attractive climate variations, geography variations, culture variations and standard of living variations. It would be wrong to suggest that the standard of living across France’s is high for everybody but there is no doubt that many of the larger cities offer attractions and a standard of life which many people strive for. Actually, Standard of living (36.84%) was the main reason for all expats who have participated in the poll from France.
Alternatively, it is also worth noting that the countryside of France also attracts more than its fair share of people who are looking for an idyllic lifestyle.
Without overplaying the make-up and the culture of France, there is no doubt that it is something which has caught the eye of many expats. Even UK expats seem more than happy to put aside their historic friction with the French population with many buying properties in the country and many more moving lock stock and barrel!
Despite the fact that –in part for the reasons mentioned above- tourism contributes as the main industry to the French economy, it should not be forgotten that France has the fifth largest economy in the world and the second largest in Europe. This is a factor which should obviously be taken into consideration when looking towards employment in the country, as above the 15% of the participants in the poll highlighted Employment (15.79%) as their main reason to move to France.
Agriculture also plays a major role as do utility companies, technology, communications and other modern day business sectors. Interestingly, in direct comparison to the likes of the UK, the French public sector and state enterprises are very evident and very strong in the employment market. This is not to say that private enterprise does not play a major role in the French economy but the authorities have passed various pieces of legislation to protect French utility companies and companies of “significant importance”. A number of European counterparts claim that the fact that state-owned, or state-controlled, French companies are allowed to bid for unprotected overseas companies is ethically wrong. However, this has not stopped the French government tightening the noose.
Retirement VS Romance
Retirement (15.79%) is one of the major reasons why many UK expats in particular look to move to France in their later years. As we touched on above, the country offers a massive array of different climates, different landscapes, different cultures and different life experiences. When you also take into account the fact that France is literally a hop, skip and a jump from the UK it is no surprise to learn that UK expats often begin their search for a new life in the country.
However, the French labour market is very much tilted in favour of French nationals and if you are looking to retire to France you need to ensure you are fully funded and your finances are in order. You are unlikely to receive significant help from the authorities in France and indeed many people believe there are barriers to entry in some areas of the French employment market and French life in general. That’s why it’s so important to have your finance in order, so you can avoid additional concerns and enjoy your well-deserved retirement peacefully. An easy yet highly useful step to take is to ask your bank to help you to go through your financial planning.
It surprises to find out that retirement and romance are tight in terms of gaining the expats in France favour (nearly 16 out of 100 expats living in France are there where for retirement or romantic reasons).
If you ever hear mention of Paris you are likely to think of romance, love and a special time with a special person. The country itself has a very romantic culture and indeed it is no surprise to see that romance is joint third in the list of reasons why people do move to France. However, it can sometimes be easy to get “wrapped up in the moment” and if romance is the main reason why you are looking to move overseas then you also need to ensure that you have support of a financial and emotional kind in case things get tough. The “Mills and Boon” stigma attached to overseas romances is very nice from a distance but in real life situations change, pressures build and these can place enormous strains on any new relationship. Would you move overseas for love?
Weather (5.26%) and Cost of living (5.26%) share the third position in the top reasons ranking for people from around the world to move in to France. It should be highlighted that the weather in France’s is as varied as the culture in different regions of the country which takes in mountains, romance, vineyards, haunts of the rich and famous to name but a few elements of life in France. As a consequence, you can go from baking hot sunshine to the cold snowy days of life on Mont Blanc. There are few countries in the world which offer such a variation of weather and whether you are looking for a hot climate, mild climate, cold climate or a varied climate there is something for you. If you take a close look at the weather patterns and the climate patterns in France you will be very surprised to learn how varied they are!
The cost of living in France did receive some interest from those who took part in our online poll although it has to be said this was a relatively disappointing joint third. As we mentioned above, the lifestyles available across France vary markedly as does the cost of living in the country. Despite the fact that France is a very prominent member of the European Union, and indeed one of the largest economies in the world, there is still an uncomfortable level of governmental control. As a consequence, many experts believe that the true cost of living in France may be artificially high in some areas due to the lack of competition in many sectors of the French economy. Thinking of opening an international bank account that allows you to play with different currencies would be a good idea to solve up a great deal of the financial hassle.
As with any move overseas, if you’re looking to move to France you need to be fully aware of the cost of living in the area of your choice and indeed you need to ensure that you are fully funded for the future. Those who automatically assume that the cost of living in France is similar to the cost of living in their former homeland may receive a pleasant surprise or a nasty shock!
It will come as no surprise to those who have sampled life in France that the standard of living or perhaps the variation in the standard of living, across France has attracted more than its fair share of expats. It was also perhaps predictable to see employment and retirement as two other popular reasons although “romance” may well have been something of a surprise for some. It always helps to do some reading in advance about your country of destination, so you will be better prepared to fully enjoy the adventure of living abroad. Financially speaking, if you want to get to the grips with the national particularities, it will pay off to take a look at the Barclays Wealth International France banking guide, where you can find really handy information as what documentation you might be asked to open a bank account.
Finally, and interestingly, there were no votes for “travelling the world” as a reason for moving to the country which when you bear in mind it is Europe’s top tourist destination is a startling fact. Has France lost its shine and its attraction? Or are expats looking at other elements of everyday life as a reason to move overseas?